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The day of the dog

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McCutcheon
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Title:TheDayoftheDog
Author:GeorgeBarrMcCutcheon
Illustrator:HarrisonFisher
PostingDate:April12,2013[EBook#5759]ReleaseDate:May,2004First
Posted:August28,2002
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEDAYOFTHE
DOG***

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THEDAYOFTHEDOG
by

GEORGEBARRMCCUTCHEON
Authorof"Grauslark"
"TheSherrodsetc"
WithIllustrationsby
HarrisonFisher
anddecorationsby
Margaret&HelenMaitlandArmstrong
NewYork1904


ILLUSTRATIONS
SWALLOW(incolor)Frontispiece
CROSBYDRIVESTOTHESTATION
THEHANDSHADGONETOTHEIRDINNER
THEBIGREDBARN
THETWOBOYS
MRS.DELANCYANDMRS.AUSTIN
MR.AUSTIN
MRS.DELANCYPLEADSWITHSWALLOW
THEYEXAMINETHEDOCUMENTS
"SHEDELIBERATELYSPREADOUTTHEPAPERSONTHEBEAM"(in
color)
SWALLOW
SHEWATCHESHIMDESCENDINTODANGER
MR.CROSBYSHOWSSWALLOWANEWTRICK
"SWALLOW'SCHUBBYBODYSHOTSQUARELYTHROUGHTHE
OPENING"(incolor)
THEMANWITHTHELANTERN
MR.HIGGINS
"HEWASSPLASHINGTHROUGHTHESHALLOWBROOK"(incolor)
HECARRIESHEROVERTHEBROOK
MRS.HIGGINS
THEYENJOYMRS.HIGGINS'SGOODSUPPER
LONESOMEVILLE
THEDEPUTYSHERIFF
CROSBYANDTHEDEPUTY
MRS.DELANCYFALLSASLEEP
THEYGOTOTHETHEATRE
"'GOODHEAVENS!''WHATISIT?'HECRIED.'YOUARENOT
MARRIED,




AREYOU?'"
(incolor)
"CROSBYWONBOTHSUITS"


THEDAYOFTHEDOG
PARTI

"I'llcatchthefirsttrainbackthisevening,Graves.Wouldn'tgodownthereifit
werenotabsolutelynecessary;butIhavejustheardthatMrs.Delancyistoleave
forNewYorkto-night,andifIdon'tseeherto-daytherewillbeapackof
troublesomecomplications.TellMrs.Gravesshecancountmeinonthebox
partyto-night."
"We'llneedyou,Crosby.Don'tmissthetrain."
[Illustration:CrosbyDrivestotheStation]
"I'llbeatthestationanhourbeforethetrainleaves.Confoundit,it'sameantrip
downthere—threehoursthroughtherankestkindofsceneryandthreehours
back.She'svisitinginthecountry,too,butIcandriveoutandbackinanhour."
"Onyourlife,oldman,don'tfailme."
"Don'tworry,Graves;allChristendomcouldn'tkeepmeinDexterafterfour
o'clockthisafternoon.Good-by."AndCrosbyclimbedintothehansomandwas
drivenawayatbreakneckspeedtowardthestation.
CrosbywasthejuniormemberofthelawfirmofRolfe&Crosby,andhistripto
thecountrywasonbusinessconnectedwiththesettlementofabigestate.Mrs.
Delancy,widowofasonofthedecedent,wasoneofthelegatees,andshewas
visitinghersister-in-law,Mrs.RobertAustin,incentralIllinois.Mr.Austin
ownedextensivefarminginterestsnearDexter,andhishandsomehomewasless
thantwomilesfromtheheartofthetown.Crosbyanticipatednotroublein
drivingtothehouseandbackintimetocatchtheafternoontrainforChicago.It
wasnecessaryforMrs.Delancytosigncertainpapers,andhewasconfidentthe


transactioncouldnotoccupymorethanhalfanhour'stime.
At11:30CrosbysteppedfromthecoachtothestationplatforminDexter,looked
inquiringlyabout,andthenaskedaperspiringmanwithastaronhissuspenderstrapwherehecouldhireahorseandbuggy.Theofficerdirectedhimtoa"feedyardandstable,"butobservedthattherewasa"funeralintownan'he'dbelucky
ifhegotarig,asallofSmith'shorseswereout."Applicationatthestable
broughtthefirstfrowntoCrosby'sbrow.Hecouldnotrenta"rig"untilafterthe
funeral,andthatwouldmakeittoolateforhimtocatchthefouro'clocktrainfor
Chicago.Tomakethestoryshort,twelveo'clocksawhimtrudgingalongthe
dustyroadcoveringthetwomilesbetweentownandAustin'splace,andhewas
walkingwiththerapidityofonewhohasnoloveforthebeautiful.
Theearlyspringairwasinvigorating,anditdidnottakehimlongtoreducethe
distance.Austin'shousestoodonahill,farbackfromthehighway,and
overlookingtheentirecountry-side.
Thebigredbarnstoodinfromtheroadahundredyardsormore,andhesawthat
thesamedrivewayledtothehouseonthehill.Therewasnotimefor
speculation,sohehastilymadehiswayupthelane.Crosbyhadneverseenhis
client,theirbusinesshavingbeenconductedbymailorthroughMr.Rolfe.There
wasnotapersoninsight,andheslowedhisprogressconsiderablyashedrew
nearerthebighouse.Atthebarn-yardgatehecametoafullstopanddebated
withinhimselfthewisdomofinquiringatthestablesforMr.Austin.
Heflungopenthegateandstrodequicklytothedoor.Thisheopenedboldlyand
steppedinside,findinghimselfinaloftycarriageroom.Severalhandsome
vehiclesstoodatthefarend,butthewidespacenearthedoorwasclear.The
floorwasas"cleanasapin,"exceptalongthewestside.Noonewasinsight,
andtheonlysoundwasthatproducedbythehorsesastheymunchedtheirhay
andstampedtheirhoofsinimpatientremonstrancewiththeflies.
"Wherethedeucearethepeople?"hemutteredashecrossedtothemangers.
"Devilishqueer,"glancingaboutinconsiderabledoubt."Thehandsmustbeat
dinnerortakinganap."Hepassedbyarowofmangersandwascalmly
inspectedbybrown-eyedhorses.Attheendofthelongrowofstallshefounda
littlegateopeningintoanothersectionofthebarn.Hewasonthepointof
openingthisgatetopassinamongthehorseswhenalowgrowlattractedhis
attention.Insomealarmhetookaprecautionarylookahead.Ontheopposite


sideofthegatestoodahugeandviciouslookingbulldog,unchainedandwaiting
forhimwithaneagerferocitythatcouldnotbemistaken.Mr.Crosbydidnot
openthegate.Insteadheinspectedittoseethatitwassecurelyfastened,and
thendrewhishandacrosshisbrow.
"Whatanescape!"hegasped,afteralongbreath."Luckyformeyougrowled,
oldboy.MynameisCrosby,mydearsir,andI'mnotheretostealanything.I'm
onlyalawyer.Anybodyelseathomebutyou?"
Anominousgrowlwastheanswer,andtherewasluriddisappointmentinthe
faceofthesquatfigurebeyondthegate.
"Come,now,oldchap,don'tbenasty.Iwon'thurtyou.Therewasnothing
fartherfrommymindthanadesiretodisturbyou.Andsay,pleasedosomething
besidesgrowl.Bark,andobligeme.Youmayattracttheattentionofsomeone."
Bythistimetheuglybrutewastryingtogetattheman,growling,andsnarling
savagely.Crosbycomplacentlylookedonfromhisplaceofsafetyforamoment,
andwasonthepointofturningawaywhenhisattentionwascaughtbyanew
moveonthepartofthedog.Theanimalceasedhisviolenteffortstogetthrough
thegate,turnedaboutdeliberately,andracedfromviewbehindthehorsestalls.
Crosbybroughthimselfupwithajerk.
"Thunder,"heejaculated;"thebruteknowsawaytogetatme,andhewon'tbe
longaboutit,either.WhatthedickensshallI—byGeorge,thislooksserious!
He'llheadmeoffatthedoorifItrytogetoutand—Ah,thefire-escape!We'll
foolyou,youbrute!WhatacursedidiotIwasnottogotothehouseinsteadof
coming—"Hewasshinningupaladderwithlittleregardforgraceashe
mumbledthisself-condemnatoryremark.Therewaslittledignityinhismanner
offlight,andtherewascertainlynogloryinthepositioninwhichhefound
himselfamomentlater.Buttherewasavastamountofsatisfaction.
Theladderrestedagainstabeamthatcrossedthecarriageshednearthemiddle.
Thebeamwasalargeone,hewnfromamonstertree,andwasfreeonallsides.
Theladderhadevidentlybeenlefttherebymenwhohaduseditrecentlyand
hadneglectedtoreturnittothehooksonwhichitproperlyhung.
Whenthedogrushedviolentlythroughthedoorandintothecarriageroom,he
foundavastandinexplicablesolitude.Hewas,toallappearances,alonewiththe
vehiclesunderwhichhewaspermittedtotrotwhenhismasterfeltinclinedto


granttheprivilege.
Crosby,seatedonthebeam,fifteenfeetabovethefloor,grinnedsecurelybut
somewhatdubiouslyashewatchedthemystifieddogbelow.Atlasthelaughed
aloud.Hecouldnothelpit.Theenemyglancedupwardandblinkedhisredeyes
insurprise;thenhestaredindeepchagrin,thenglaredwithrage.Forafew
minutesCrosbywatchedhisfranticeffortstoleapthroughfifteenfeetof
altitudinalspace,confidentlyhopingthatsomeonewouldcometodrivethe
bruteawayandliberatehim.Finallyhebegantolosethegoodhumorhis
strategyinfoolingthedoghadinspired,andahurt,indignantstarewasdirected
towardtheopendoorthroughwhichhehadentered.
"What'sthematterwiththeidiots?"hegrowledimpatiently."Aretheygoingto
letthispoordogsnarlhislungsout?He'safaithfulchap,too,andawilling
worker.Gad,Ineversawanythingmoreearnestthanthewayhetriestoclimb
upthatladder."Adjustinghimselfinacomfortableposition,hiselbowsonhis
knees,hishandstohischin,heallowedhisfeettoswinglazily,tantalizingly,
belowthebeam."I'mputtingagooddealoffaithinthisbeam,"hewenton
resignedly.Thetimberwasatleastfifteeninchessquare.
"Ah,byGeorge!Thatwasabullyjump—thebestyou'vemade.Youdidn'tmiss
memorethantenfeetthattime.Idon'tliketobedisrespectful,youknow,but
youareanexceedinglyroughlookingdog.Don'tgethuffyaboutit,oldfellow,
butyouhavetheugliestmouthIeversaw.Yes,youmiserablecur,politenessat
lastceasestobeavirtuewithme.IfIhadyouuphereI'dpunchyourfacefor
you,too.Whydon'tyoucomeup,youcoward?You'rebow-legged,too,andyou
haven'tanymorefigurethanacrab.Anybodythatwouldtakeaninsultlikethat
isbeneathme(thankheaven!)andwouldstealsheep.GreatScott!Whereareall
thesepeople?Shutup,youbrute,you!I'mgettingaheadache.Butitdoesn'tdo
anygoodtoreasonwithyou,Icanseethatplainly.ThethingIoughttodoisto
godownthereandpunishyouseverely.ButI'll—Hello!Hey,boy!Calloffthis
—confoundeddog."
TwosmallLordFauntleroyboyswerestandinginthedoor,gazingupathim
withwideopenmouthsandbulgingeyes.
"Callhimoff,Isay,orI'llcomedownthereandkickaholeclearthroughhim."
Theboysstaredalltheharder."IsyournameAustin?"hedemanded,addressing
neitherinparticular.


"Yes,sir,"answeredthelargerboy,withaneffort.
"Well,where'syourfather?Shutup,youbrute!Can'tyouseeI'mtalking?Gotell
yourfatherIwanttoseehim,boy."
"Dad'supatthehouse."
"Thatsoundsencouraging.Can'tyoucalloffthisdog?"
"I—IguessI'dbetternot.That'swhatdadkeepshimfor."
"Oh,hedoes,eh?Andwhatisitthathekeepshimfor?"
"Towatchtramps."
"Towatch—towatchtramps?Say,boy,I'malawyerandI'mhereonbusiness."
Hewasblackinthefacewithindignation.
"Youbettercomeuptothehouseandseedad,then.Hedon'tliveinthebarn,"
saidtheboykeenly.
"Ican'tflytothehouse,boy.Say,ifyoudon'tcalloffthisdogI'llputabullet
throughhim."
"You'dhavetobeapurtygoodshot,mister.Nearlyeverybodyinthecountyhas
triedtodoit."Bothboysweregrinningdiabolicallyandthedogtookonenergy
throughinspiration.Crosbylongedforastickofdynamite.
"I'llgiveyouadollarifyougethimawayfromhere."
"Let'sseeyourdollar."Crosbydrewasilverdollarfromhistrouserspocket,
almostfallingfromhisperchintheeffort.
"Here'sthecoin.Callhimoff,"gaspedthelawyer.
"I'mafraidpapawouldn'tlikeit,"saidtheboy.Thesmallerladnudgedhis
brotherandurgedhimto"takethemoneyanyhow."
"IliveinChicago,"Crosbybegan,hopingtoimpresstheboysatleast.
"Sodowewhenwe'reathome,"saidthesmallerboy."WeliveinChicagointhe


wintertime."
"IsMrs.Delancyyouraunt?"
"Yes,sir."
"I'llgiveyouthisdollarifyou'lltellyourfatherI'mhereandwanttoseehimat
once."
"Throwdownyourdollar."Thecoinfellattheirfeetbutrolleddeliberately
throughacrackinthefloorandwaslostforever.Crosbymutteredsomething
unintelligible,butresignedlythrewasecondcoinafterthefirst.
"He'llbeoutwhenhegetsthroughdinner,"saidtheolderboy,justbeforethe
fight.Twominuteslaterhewasstreakingacrossthebarnlotwiththecoininhis
pocket,thesmallerboywailingunderthewoeofabloodynose.Forhalfanhour
Crosbyheapedinsultafterinsultuponthegloweringdogatthebottomofthe
ladderandwasinthemidstofarabiddenunciationofAustinwhenthecity-bred
farmerenteredthebarn.
"AmIaddressingMr.RobertAustin?"calledCrosby,suddenlyamiable.Thedog
subsidedandrantohismaster'sside.Austin,ablack-moustached,sallow-faced
manofforty,stoppednearthedoorandlookedaloft,squinting.
"Whereareyou?"heaskedsomewhatsharply.
"Iamverymuchupintheair,"repliedCrosby."Lookalittlesou'bysou'east.
Ah,nowyouhaveme.Canyoumanagethedog?Ifso,I'llcomedown."
"Onemoment,please.Whoareyou?"
"MynameisCrosby,ofRolfe&Crosby,Chicago.IamheretoseeMrs.
Delancy,yoursister-in-law,onbusinessbeforesheleavesforNew
York."
"Whatisyourbusinesswithher,mayIask?"
"Private,"saidCrosbylaconically."Holdthedog."
"Iinsistinknowingthenatureofyourbusiness,"saidAustinfirmly.


"I'drathercomedownthereandtalk,ifyoudon'tmind."
"Idon'tbutthedogmay,"saidtheothergrimly.
"Well,thisisanicewaytotreatagentleman,"criedCrosbywrathfully.
"Agentlemanwouldscarcelyhaveexpectedtofindaladyinthebarn,muchless
onacross-beam.Thisiswheremyhorsesanddogslive."
"Oh,that'sallrightnow;thisisn'tajoke,youknow."
"Iquiteagreewithyou.WhatisyourbusinesswithMrs.Delancy?"
"Werepresentherlatehusband'sinterestsinsettlinguptheestateofhisfather.
Yourwife'sinterestsarebeinglookedafterbyMorton&Rogers,Ibelieve.Iam
heretohaveMrs.Delancygothroughtheformofsigningpapersauthorizingus
tobringsuitagainsttheestateinordertoestablishcertainrightsofwhichyou
arefullyaware.Yourwife'sbrotherlefthisaffairsslightlytangled,you
remember."
"Well,Icansaveyouagooddealoftrouble.Mrs.Delancyhasdecidedtoletthe
matterrestasitisandtoacceptthecompromisetermsofferedbytheotherheirs.
Shewillnotcaretoseeyou,forshehasjustwrittentoyourfirmannouncingher
decision."
"You—youdon'tmeanit,"exclaimedCrosbyindismay.Hesawaprodigiousfee
slippingthroughhisfingers."Gad,Imustseeheraboutthis,"hewenton,
startingdowntheladder,onlytogobackagainhastily.Thegrowlingdogleaped
forwardandstoodreadytoreceivehim.Austinchuckledaudibly.
"Shereallycan'tseeyou,Mr.Crosby.Mrs.Delancyleavesatfouro'clockfor
Chicago,whereshetakestheMichiganCentralforNewYorkto-night.Youcan
gainnothingbyseeingher."
"ButIinsist,sir,"explodedCrosby.
"Youmaycomedownwhenyoulike,"saidAustin."ThedogwillbehereuntilI
returnfromthedepotafterdrivingherover.Comedownwhenyoulike."
Crosbydidnotutterthethreatthatsurgedtohislips.Withthewisdombornof


self-preservation,hetemporized,reservingdeepdowninthesurgingyoung
breastapromisetoamplyrecompensehispridefortheblowsitwasreceivingat
thehandsofthedetestableMr.Austin.
"You'lladmitthatI'minadevilofapickle,Mr.Austin,"hesaidjovially."The
dogisnotatallfriendly."
"Heisatleastdiverting.Youwon'tbelonesomewhileI'maway.I'lltellMrs.
Delancythatyoucalled,"saidAustinironically.
Heturnedtoleavethebarn,andthesinistersneeronhisfacegaveCrosbyanew
andamazinginspiration.Likeaflashthererushedintohismindthebeliefthat
Austinhadadeeplaiddesigninnotpermittinghimtoseethelady.Withthis
beliefalsocametheconvictionthathewashurryingherofftoNewYorkon
somepretextsimplytoforestallanyactionthatmightinducehertocontinuethe
contemplatedsuitagainsttheestate.Mrs.Delancyhadundoubtedlybeenurged
todropthematterunderpressureofpromises,andtheAustinsweregettingher
awayfromthesceneofactionbeforeshecouldreconsiderorbeforeher
solicitorscouldconvinceherofthemistakeshewasmaking.Thethoughtofthis
sentthefireofresentmentracingthroughCrosby'sbrain,andhefairlygasped
withthelongingtogetatthebottomofthecase.Hisonlyhopenowlayin
sendingatelegramtoMr.Rolfe,commandinghimtomeetMrs.Delancywhen
hertrainreachedChicago,andtolaythewholematterbeforeher.
BeforeAustincouldmakehisexitthevoicesofwomenwereheardoutsidethe
doorandaninstantlatertwoladiesentered.Thefarmerattemptedtoturnthem
back,buttheyounger,taller,andslighterofthenewcomerscried:
"Ijustcouldn'tgowithoutanotherlookatthehorses,Bob."
Crosby,onthebeam,didnotfailtoobservetherich,tendertoneofthevoice,
anditwouldhaverequiredalmosttotaldarknesstoobscurethebeautyofher
face.Hercompanionwasolderandcoarser,andhefounddelightinthebelief
thatshewasthebetterhalfofthedisagreeableMr.Austin.
"Good-afternoon,Mrs.Delancy!"cameafinemasculinevoicefromnowhere.
Theladiesstartedinamazement,Mr.Austingroundhisteeth,thedogtook
anothertiredleapupward;Mr.Crosbytookoffhishatgallantly,andwaited
patientlyfortheladytodiscoverhiswhereabouts.


"Whoisit,Bob?"criedthetallone,andCrosbypattedhisbumpofshrewdness
happily."Whohaveyouinhidinghere?"
"I'mnotinhiding,Mrs.Delancy.I'maprisoner,that'sall.I'mrightnearthetop
oftheladderdirectlyinfrontofyou.Youknowmeonlythroughthemails,but
mypartner,Mr.Rolfe,isknowntoyoupersonally.MynameisCrosby."
"Howverystrange,"shecriedinwonder."Whydon'tyoucomedown,Mr.
Crosby?"
"Ihatetoadmitit,butI'mafraid.There'sthedog,youknow.Haveyouany
influenceoverhim?"
"Nonewhatever.Hehatesme.PerhapsMr.Austincanmanagehim.Oh,isn'tit
ludicrous?"andsheburstintoheartylaughter.Itwasaverymusicallaugh,but
Crosbyconsidereditadisagreeablecroak.
"ButMr.Austindeclinestointerfere.Icametoseeyouonprivatebusinessand
amnotpermittedtodoso."
"Wedon'tknowthisfellow,Louise,andIcan'tallowyoutotalktohim,"said
Austinbrusquely."Ifoundhimwhereheisandtherehestaysuntilthemarshal
comesoutfromtown.Hisactionshavebeenverysuspiciousandmustbe
investigated.Ican'ttakechancesonlettingahorsethiefescape.Swallowwill
watchhimuntilIcansecureassistance."
"Iimploreyou,Mrs.Delancy,togivemeamomentortwoinwhichtoexplain,"
criedCrosby."HeknowsI'mnotheretostealhishorses,andheknowsIintend
topunchhisheadtheminuteIgetthechance."Mrs.Austin'slittleshriekof
dismayandherhusband'sfierceglaredidnotchecktheflowoflanguagefrom
thebeam."IAMCrosbyofRolfe&Crosby,yourcounsel.Ihavethepapershere
foryoutosignand—"
"Louise,Iinsistthatyoucomeawayfromhere.Thisfellowisafraud—"
"He'srefreshing,atanyrate,"saidMrs.Delancygaily."Therecanbenoharmin
hearingwhathehastosay,Bob."
"Youareverykind,andIwon'tdetainyoulong."


"I'veamindtokickyououtofthisbarn,"criedAustinangrily.
"Idon'tbelieveyou'retallenough,mygoodfellow."Mr.Crosbywasmorethan
amiable.Hewaspositivelygenial.Mrs.Delancy'sprettyfacewasthepictureof
eager,excitedmirth,andhesawthatshewasdeterminedtoseethecomedyto
theend.
"Louise!"exclaimedMrs.Austin,speakingforthefirsttime."Youarenotfool
enoughtocreditthisfellow'sstory,I'msure.Cometothehouseatonce.Iwill
notstayhere."Mrs.Austin'svoicewashardandbiting,andCrosbyalsocaught
thequickglancethatpassedbetweenhusbandandwife.
"IamsureMrs.DelancywillnotbesounkindastoleavemeafterI'vehadso
muchtroubleingettinganaudience.Hereismycard,Mrs.Delancy."Crosby
tossedacardfromhisperch,butSwallowgobbleditupinstantly.Mrs.Delancy
gavealittlecryofdisappointment,andCrosbypromptlyapologizedforthe
dog'sgreediness."Mr.AustinknowsI'mCrosby,"heconcluded.
"Iknownothingofthesort,sir,andIforbidMrs.Delancyholdingfurther
conversationwithyou.Thisisanoutrageousimposition,Louise.Youmust
hurry,bytheway,orwe'llmissthetrain,"saidAustin,bitinghislipimpatiently.
"Thatremindsme,Ialsotakethefouro'clocktrainforChicago,Mrs.Delancy.If
youprefer,wecantalkoverouraffairsonthetraininsteadofhere.I'llconfess
thisisn'taverydignifiedmannerinwhichtoholdaconsultation,"saidCrosby
apologetically.
"Willyoubekindenoughtostatethenatureofyourbusiness,Mr.
Crosby?"saidtheyoungwoman,ignoringMr.Austin.
"ThenyoubelieveI'mCrosby?"criedthatgentlemantriumphantly.
"Louise!"criedMrs.Austinindespair.
"Inspiteofyourpresentoccupation,IbelieveyouareCrosby,"said
Mrs.Delancymerrily.
"But,goodgracious,Ican'ttalkbusinesswithyoufromthisconfoundedbeam,"
hecriedlugubriously.


"Mr.Austinwillcallthedogaway,"shesaidconfidently,turningtothemanin
thedoor.Austin'ssallowfacelightedwithasuddenmaliciousgrin,andthere
waspositivejoyinhisvoice.
"Youmaybesatisfied,butIamnot.Ifyoudesiretotransactbusinesswiththis
impertinentstranger,Mrs.Delancy,you'llhavetodosounderexisting
conditions.Idonotapproveofhimorhismethods,andmydogdoesn'teither.
Youcantrustadogforknowingamanforwhatheis.Mrs.AustinandIare
goingtothehouse.Youmayremain,ofcourse;Ihavenorighttocommandyou
tofollow.Whenyouarereadytodrivetothestation,pleasecometothehouse.
I'llbeready.YourMr.Crosbymayleavewhenhelikes—IFHECAN.Come,
Elizabeth."Withthisdefiantthrust,Mr.Austinstalkedfromthebarn,followed
byhiswife.Mrs.Delancystartedtofollowbutcheckedherselfimmediately,a
flushofangermountingtoherbrow.Afteralongpauseshespoke.
"Idon'tunderstandhowyoucametobewhereyouare,Mr.Crosby,"shesaid
slowly.Herelatedhisexperiencesrapidlyandlaughedwithhersimplybecause
shehadawaywithher.
"You'llpardonmeforlaughing,"shegiggled.
"Withallmyheart,"herepliedgallantly."Itmustbeveryfunny.However,thisis
notbusiness.Youareinahurrytogetawayfromhereand—I'mnot,itseems.
Briefly,Mrs.Delancy,Ihavethepapersyouaretosignbeforewebeginyour
actionagainsttheFairwaterestate.YouknowwhattheyarethroughMr.Rolfe."
"Well,I'msorry,Mr.Crosby,tosaytoyouthatIhavedecidedtoabandonthe
matter.Asatisfactorycompromiseisunderway."
"SoI'vebeentold.Butareyousureyouunderstandyourself?"
"Perfectly,thankyou."
"Thisisaveryunsatisfactoryplacefromwhichtoarguemycase,Mrs.
Delancy.Can'tyoudisposeofthedog?"
"OnlyGoddisposes."
"Well,doyoumindtellingmewhatthecompromiseprovides?"Shestaredat
himforamomenthaughtily,buthissmilewonthepointforhim.Shetoldhim


everythingandthenlookedverymuchdispleasedwhenhesworedistinctly.
"Pardonme,butyouaregettingverymuchtheworstofitinthisdeal.Itisthe
mostcontemptibleschemetorobthatIeverheardof.Bythisarrangementyou
aretogetfarminglandsandbuildinglotsinruraltownsworthinallabout
$100,000,I'dsay.Don'tyouknowthatyouareentitledtonearlyhalfamillion?"
"Oh,dear,no.Byright,myshareislessthan$75,000,"shecriedtriumphantly.
"Whotoldyouso?"hedemanded,andshesawaveryheavyfrownonhis
erstwhilemerryface.
"Why—why,Mr.Austinandanotherbrother-in-law,Mr.Gray,bothofwhomare
verykindtomeinthematter,I'msure."
"Mrs.Delancy,youarebeingrobbedbythesefellows.Can'tyouseethatthese
brothers-in-lawandtheirwiveswillprofitimmenselyiftheysucceedinkeeping
thewooloveryoureyeslongenough?LetMEshowyousomefigures."He
excitedlydrewapacketofpapersfromhispocketandinfiveminutes'timehad
hergaspingwiththeknowledgethatshewaslegallyentitledtomorethanhalfa
millionofdollars.
"Areyousure?"shecried,unabletobelieveherears.
"Absolutely.Hereistheinventoryandherearethefigurestocorroborate
everythingIsay."
"ButTHEYhadfigures,too,"shecriedinperplexity.
"Certainly.Figuresarewonderfulthings.Ionlyaskyoutodeferthisplanto
compromiseuntilweareabletothoroughlyconvinceyouthatIamnot
misrepresentingthefactstoyou."
"Oh,ifIcouldonlybelieveyou!"
"I'dtossthedocumentsdowntoyouifIwerenotafraidthey'djoinmycard.
Thatisaterriblyravenousbeast.Surelyyoucancoaxhimoutofthebarn,"he
addedeagerly.
"Icantry,butpersuasionisdifficultwithabulldog,youknow,"shesaid


doubtfully."Itismucheasiertopersuadeaman,"shesmiled.
"Itrustyouwon'ttrytopersuademetocomedown,"hesaidinalarm.
"Mr.Austinisabrutetotreatyouinthismanner,"shecriedindignantly.
"Iwouldn'ttreatadogasheistreatingme."
"Oh,Iamsureyoucouldn't,"shecriedinperfectsincerity."Swallowdoesn'tlike
me,butI'lltrytogethimaway.Youcan'tstayupthereallnight."
"ByJove!"heexclaimedsharply.
"Whatisit?"sheaskedquickly.
"IhadforgottenanengagementinChicagoforto-night.Boxpartyatthecomic
opera,"hesaid,lookingnervouslyathiswatch.
"Itwouldbetoobadifyoumissedit,"shesaidsweetly."You'dbemuchmore
comfortableinabox."
"Youareconsolingatleast.Areyougoingtocoaxhimoff?"
"Inbehalfoftheboxparty,I'lltry.Come,Swallow.There'sanicedoggie!"
Crosbywatchedtheproceedingswithdeepestinterestandconcernandnota
littleadmiration.ButnotonlydidSwallowrefusetoabdicatebutheseemedto
takedecidedexceptionstothefemininemethodofappeal.Heevidentlydidnot
liketobecalled"doggie,""pet,""dearie,"andallsuch.
"Hewon'tcome,"shecriedplaintively.
"Ihaveit!"heexclaimed,hisfacebrightening."Willyouhandmethatthreetinedpitchforkoverthere?WiththatinmyhandsI'llmakeSwallowsee—Look
out!Forheaven'ssake,don'tgonearhim!He'llkillyou."Shehadtakentwoor
threestepstowardthedog,herhandextendedpleadingly,onlytobemetbyan
ominousgrowl,afinedisplayofteeth,andabristlingback.Asifparalyzed,she
haltedatthefootoftheladder,terrorsuddenlytakingpossessionofher.
"Canyougetthepitchfork?"


"Iamafraidtomove,"shemoaned."Heishorrible—horrible!"
"I'llcomedown,Mrs.Delancy,andhangtheconsequences,"Crosbycried,and
wassuitingtheactiontothewordwhenshecriedoutinremonstrance.
"Don'tcomedown—don't!He'llkillyou.Iforbidyoutocomedown,Mr.
Crosby.Lookathim!Oh,he'scomingtowardme!Don'tcomedown!"she
shrieked."I'llcomeup!"
Graspingherskirtswithonehandshestartedfranticallyuptheladder,her
terrifiedeyeslookingintothefaceofthemanabove.Therewasavicioussnarl
fromthedog,asavagelunge,andthensomethingclosedoverherarmlikea
vice.Shefeltherselfbeingjerkedupwardandasecondlatershewasonthe
beambesidetheflushedyoungmanwhosestronghandandnotthedog'sjaws
hadreachedherfirst.Hewasobligedtosupportherforafewminuteswithone
ofhisemphaticarms,sonearwasshetofainting.
"Oh,"shegaspedatlast,lookingintohiseyesquestioningly."Didhebiteme?I
wasnotsure,youknow.Hegavesuchanawfulleapforme.Howdidyoudoit?"
"Asimpletwistofthewrist,astheprestidigitatorssay.Youhadaclosecall,my
dearMrs.Delancy."Hewasa-quiverwithnewsensationsthatweresendinghis
spiritsskyhigh.Afterallitwasnotturningoutsobadly.
"Hewouldhavedraggedmedownhaditnotbeenforyou.AndImighthave
beentorntopieces,"sheshuddered,glancingdownatthenowinfuriateddog.
"Itwouldhavebeenappalling,"heagreed,discreetlyallowinghertoimaginethe
worst.
"HowcanIeverthankyou?"criedsheimpulsively.Hemadeaverycreditable
showofembarrassmentintheefforttoconvinceherthathehadaccomplished
onlywhatanymanwouldhaveattemptedundersimilarcircumstances.Shewas
thoroughlyconvincedthatnoothermancouldhavesucceeded.
"Well,we'reinaprettyposition,arewenot?"heaskedintheend.
"IthinkIcanstickonwithoutbeingheld,Mr.Crosby,"shesaid,andhisarm
slowlyandregretfullycametoparaderest.


"Areyousureyouwon'tgetdizzy?"hedemandedindeepsolicitude.
"I'llnotlookdown,"shesaid,smilingintohiseyes.Helostthepowerofspeech
foramoment."MayIlookatthosefiguresnow?"
Forthenexttenminutesshestudiouslyfollowedhimasheexplainedthe
contentsofthevariouspapers.Sheheldthesheetsandtheysatverycloseto
eachotheronthebigbeam.Thedoglookedoninsourdisgust.
"Theycannotbewrong,"shecriedatlast.Hereyesweresparkling."Youareas
goodasanangel."
"IonlyregretthatIcan'tcompletetheillusionbyunfoldingastrongand
convenientpairofwings,"hesaiddolorously."Howarewetocatchthattrainfor
Chicago?"
"I'mafraidwecan't,"shesaiddemurely."You'llmisstheboxparty."
"That'sapleasureeasilysacrificed."
"Besides,youareseeingmeonbusiness.Pleasureshouldneverinterferewith
business,youknow."
"Itdoesn'tseemto,"hesaid,andthedogsawthemsmiletranquillyintoeach
other'seyes.
"Oh,isn'tthistoofunnyforwords?"Helookedverygrateful.
"IwonderwhenAustinwillcondescendtoreleaseus."
"Ihavecometoadecision,Mr.Crosby,"shesaidirrelevantly.
"Indeed?"
"IshallneverspeaktoRobertAustinagain,andI'llneverenterhishouseaslong
asIlive,"sheannounceddeterminedly.
"Good!Butyouforgetyourpersonaleffects.Theyareinhishouse."Hewas
overflowingwithhappiness.
"TheyhaveallgonetothedepotandIhavethebaggagechecks.Myticketand


mymoneyareinthispurse.Yousee,wearequiteonthesamefooting."
"Idon'tfeelsureofmyfooting,"hecommentedruefully."Bytheway,Ihavea
fountainpen.Wouldyoumindsigningthesepapers?We'llbequitesureofour
standingatleast."
Shedeliberatelyspreadoutthepapersonthebeam,and,whileheobligingly
keptherfromfalling,signedsevendocumentsinafull,decisivehand:"Louise
HamptonDelancy."
"There!Thatmeansthatyouaretobeginsuit,"shesaidfinally,handingthepen
tohim.
[Illustration:"SHEDELIBERATELYSPREADOUTTHEPAPERSONTHE
BEAM."]
"I'llnotwasteaninstant,"hesaidmeaningly."Infact,thesuitisalreadyunder
way."
"Idon'tunderstandyou,"shesaid,butsheflushed.
"That'swhatalawyersayswhenhegoestocourt,"heexplained.
"Oh,"shesaid,thoroughlyconvinced.
Attheendofanotherhourthetwoonthebeamwerelookingateachotherwith
troubledeyes.Whenheglancedathiswatchatsixo'clock,hisfacewas
extremelysober.Therewasatired,wistfulexpressioninhereyes.
"Doyouthinkthey'llkeepushereallnight?"sheaskedplaintively.
"Heavenknowswhatthatscoundrelwilldo."
"Wehavethepaperssigned,atanyrate."Shesighed,tryingtorevivethedying
sparkofhumor.
"Andwewon'tbelonesome,"headded,glaringatthedog.
"Didyoueverdreamthatamancouldbesodespicable?"
"Ah,herecomessomeoneatlast,"hecried,brighteningup.


ThefigureofRobertAustinappearedinthedoorway.
"Oho,you'rebothuptherenow,areyou?"hesnapped."That'swhyyoudidn'tgo
tothedepot,isit?Well,howhasthebusinessprogressed?"
"Shehassignedallthepapers,ifthat'swhatyouwanttoknow,"said
Crosbytantalizingly.
"That'sallthegooditwilldoher.We'llbeatyouincourt,Mr.Crosby,andwe
won'tleaveadollarforyou,mydearsister-in-law,"snarledAustin,hisface
whitewithrage.
"Andnowthatwe'vesettledourbusiness,andmissedourtrain,perhapsyou'll
calloffyourconfoundeddog,"saidCrosby.Austin'sfacebrokeintoawidegrin,
andhechuckledaloud.Thenheleanedagainstthedoor-postandheldhissides.
"What'sthejoke?"demandedtheirateCrosby.Mrs.Delancyclaspedhisarmand
lookeddownuponAustinasifhehadsuddenlygonemad.
"Youwanttocomedown,eh?"cackledAustin."Whydon'tyoucomedown?I
knowyou'llpardonmylaughter,butIhavejustrememberedthatyoumaybea
horsethiefandthatIwasnotgoingtoletyouescape.Mrs.Delancyrefusesto
speaktome,soIdeclinetoaskhertocomedown."
"Doyoumeantosayyou'llkeepthisladyupherefor—"beganCrosbyfiercely.
Herhandonhisarmpreventedhimfromleapingtothefloor.
"Shemaycomedownwhenshedesires,andsomayyou,sir,"roaredAustin
stormily.
"Butsomeonewillreleaseus,curseyou,andthenI'llmakeyousorryyouever
lived,"hissedCrosby."Youareablack-heartedcur,acowardlydog—"
"Don't—don't!"whisperedthetimidwomanbesidehim.
"Youarehelpingyourcausebeautifully,"sneeredAustin."Mymenhave
instructionstostayawayfromthebarnuntilthemarshalcomes.I,myself,
expecttofeedandbedthehorses."
Deliberatelyhewentaboutthetaskoffeedingthehorses.Thetwoonthebeam


lookedoninhelplesssilence.Crosbyhadmurderinhisheart.Atlastthemaster
ofthesituationstartedforthedoor.
"Good-night,"hesaidsarcastically."Pleasantdreams."
"Youbrute,"criedCrosby,hoarsewithanger.Asobcamefromhistired
companionandCrosbyturnedtoher,hisheartfulloftendernessand—shame,
perhaps.Tearswerestreamingdownhercheeksandhershouldersdrooped
dejectedly.
"Whatshallwedo?"shemoaned.Crosbycouldframenoanswer.Hegentlytook
herhandinhisandheldittightly.Shemadenoefforttowithdrawit.
"I'mawfullysorry,"hesaidsoftly."Don'tcry,littlewoman.Itwillallendright,I
know."
JustthenAustinreenteredthebarn.Withoutawordhestrodeoverandemptieda
panofrawmeatonthefloorinfrontofthedog.Thenhecalmlydeparted,but
Crosbycouldhaveswornheheardhimchuckle.Thecaptiveslookedateach
otherdumblyforafullminute,onewithwet,wide-open,hurteyes,theother
withconsternation.Graduallythesoberlightintheireyesfadedawayandfeeble
smilesdevelopedintopealsoflaughter.Theironyofthesituationboredown
uponthemirresistiblyandtheirgenuine,healthyyoungmindssawthepicturein
allofitsludicrouscolorings.Noteventheprospectofanightinmid-aircould
conquerthewilddesiretolaugh.
"Isn'tittoofunnyforwords?"shelaughedbravelythroughhertears.
Then,forsomereason,bothrelapsedintodark,silentcontemplationofthedog
whowassocalmlyenjoyinghiseveningrepast.
"Iamsorrytoadmitit,Mr.Crosby,butIamgrowingfrightfullyhungry,"she
saidwistfully.
"IthasjustoccurredtomethatIhaven'teatenabitesinceseveno'clockthis
morning,"hesaid.
"Youpoorman!IwishIcouldcooksomethingforyou."
"Youmightlearn."


"YouknowwhatImean,"sheexplained,reddeningabit."Youmustbenearly
famished."
"Iprefertothinkofsomethingmoreinteresting,"hesaidcoolly.
"Itishorrid!"shesobbed."See,itisgettingdark.Nightiscoming.Mr.Crosby,
whatistobecomeofus?"Hewasverymuchdistressedbyhertearsanda
desperateresolvetookrootinhisbreast.Shewassotiredanddispiritedthatshe
seemedgladwhenhedrewherclosetohimandpressedherheaduponhis
shoulder.Heheardthelongsighofreliefandrelaxationandshepeeredcuriously
overherwetlacehandkerchiefwhenhemutteredtenderly:
"Poorlittlechap!"
Thenshesighedagainquitesecurely,andtherewasalongsilence,broken
regularlyandrhythmicallybythefaintlittlecatchesthatonceweretearfulsobs.
"Oh,dearme!Itisquitedark,"shecriedsuddenly,andhefeltashudderrun
throughherbody.
"Wherecouldyougoto-night,Mrs.Delancy,ifweweretosucceedingetting
awayfromhere?"heaskedabruptly.Shefelthisfigurestraightenandhisarm
growtenseasifasuddendeterminationhadchargedthroughit.
"Why—why,Ihadn'tthoughtaboutthat,"sheconfessed,confrontedbyanew
proposition.
"There'salatenighttrainforChicago,"hevolunteered.
"Buthowarewetocatchit?"
"IfyouarewillingtowalktotownIthinkyoucancatchit,"hesaid,astrange
ringinhisvoice.
"Whatdoyoumean?"shedemanded,lookingupathisfacequickly.
"Canyouwalkthetwomiles?"hepersisted."ThetrainleavesDexterateleven
o'clockanditisnownearlyeight."
"OfcourseIcanwalkit,"shesaideagerly."Icouldwalkahundredmilestoget


awayfromthisplace."
"You'llmisstheNewYorktrain,ofcourse."
"I'vechangedmymind,Mr.Crosby.IshallremaininChicagountilwehavehad
ourrevengeonAustinandtheothers."
"That'sverygoodofyou.MayIaskwhereyoustopinChicago?"
"MyapartmentsareintheC—-Building.Mymotherliveswithme."
"Willyoucometoseemesometime?"heasked,anoddsmileonhislips.
"Cometoseeyou?"shecriedinsurprise."Theidea!Whatdoyoumean?"
"Imaynotbeabletocallonyouforsometime,butyoucanbeverygoodtome
bycomingtoseeme.I'llbestoppingatSt.Luke'sHospitalforquiteawhile."
"AtSt.Luke'sHospital?Idon'tunderstand,"shecriedperplexed.
"Yousee,mydearMrs.Delancy,Ihavecometoadefiniteconclusioninregard
toourpresentposition.Youmustnotstayhereallnight.I'dbeacowardanda
curtosubjectyoutosuchathing.Well,I'mgoingdowntotacklethatdog."
"To—tackle—the—dog,"shegasped.
"AndwhileI'mkeepinghimbusyyouaretocutandrunfortheroaddownthere.
Thenyou'llhaveeasysailingfortown."
"Mr.Crosby,"shesaidfirmly,claspinghisarm;"youarenottoleavethisbeam.
DoyouthinkI'llpermityoutogodownthereandbetorntopiecesbythatbeast,
justforthesakeoflettingmecutandrun,asyoucallit?I'dbeabiggerbrute
thanthedogand—and—"
"Mrs.Delancy,mymindismadeup.I'mgoingdown!"
"Thatsettlesit!I'mcomingtoo,"sheproclaimedemphatically.
"Tobesure.That'stheplan.You'llescapewhileIholdSwallow."
"I'lldonothingofthesort.Youshallnotsacrificeyourselfformysake.I'dstay


upherewithyoualltherestofmylifebeforeI'dpermityoutodothat."
"I'llremindyouofthatofferlateron,mydearMrs.Delancy,whenwearenotso
pressedfortime.Justnowyoumustbepractical,however.Wecan'tstayuphere
allnight."
"Please,Mr.Crosby,formysake,don'tgodownthere.Topleaseme,don'tbe
disfigured.Iknowyouareawfullybraveandstrong,butheissuchahuge,
viciousdog.Won'tyoupleasestayhere?"
"Tenminutesfromnowitwillbetoodarktoseethedogandhe'llhavean
advantageoverme.Listen:I'llmeetyouatthedepotinanhourandahalf.This
isfinal,Mrs.Delancy.WillyoudoasItellyou?Runfortheroadandthento
town.I'llpromisetojoinyouthere."
"Oh,dear!Oh,dear!"shemoaned,ashedrewawayfromherandswungone
foottotheladder."Ishalldieifyougodownthere."
"Iamgoingjustthesame.Don'tbeafraid,littlewoman.Mypocketknifeisopen
anditisatrustyblade.Now,bebraveandbequick.Followmedowntheladder
andcutforit."
"Please,please,please!"sheimplored,wringingherhands.
Buthewasalreadyhalf-waydowntheladderandrefusedtostop.
SuddenlyCrosbypausedasifcheckedinhisprogressbysomeinsurmountable
obstacle.Thedogwasatthefootoftheladder,snarlingwithjoyoverthe
prospectiveendofhislongvigil.Above,Mrs.Delancywasmoaningand
imploringhimtocomebacktoherside,eventhreateningtospringfromthe
beamtothefloorbeforehecouldreachthebottom.
"ByGeorge!"heexclaimed,andthenclimbedupthreeorfourroundsofthe
ladder,greatlytotheannoyanceofthedog.
"Whatisit?"criedMrs.Delancy,recoveringherbalanceonthebeam.
"Letmethinkforaminute,"heanswered,deliberatelyrestinghiselbowonan
upperround.


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